Parsing weak signals

Entrepreneur magazine is launching a web site,, that some reports see as competitive with AARP and its web presence. Ryan Shea, president and corporate publisher at Entreprener, uses language that suggests they mean to disrupt the existing model (added emphasis is mine):

“After much research it became more apparent that this market is underserved—but more importantly, from an audience perspective, it is growing exponentially.”

Last week, the American Institute of Architects announced that it is partnering with trade publisher Hanley-Wood (which focuses its publishing and media efforts on design and construction trades) to have the publisher manage two magazines and an annual show on behalf of AIA.

And Time Inc.’s InStyle magazine has reached an agreement to buy StyleFeeder and grow its e-commerce revenue streams. Monetizing the audience remains important, but advertising alone is not seen as viable.

I’ve written before that associations can effectively surround their members, and with the Hanley-Wood agreement, AIA may be doing just that. InStyle already has a loyal base, and StyleFeeder offers the magazine a way to engage its audience and keep them coming back.

The Entrepreneur launch is interesting, as it comes from an “upstart” challenger who claims they will “stay clear” of selling memberships and insurance. Perhaps that business model carries too much baggage and demands scale that Entrepreneur won’t have for a while. In a disruptive environment, the small threats can become the ones that unbundle the incumbent.

Full disclosure: I have been part of a team that consulted with the AIA on some of its publishing properties. However, the content of this post relies entirely on published reports available through the links provided above.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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